High school soccer: Lucente, Ellis lead Patriots to 3-1 win over Cougars
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There was no surprise upset this time around.
Capital ended George Washington's girls soccer season last fall with a stunning upset of the then top-ranked Patriots in sectional semifinal play.
On Thursday night, the Patriots turned the tables with a 3-1 win over the Cougars on a chilly evening at the Trace Fork Soccer Complex.
Fifth-ranked George Washington improved to 8-1-1 with the win, while Capital slipped to 6-6-0.
"I told my girls before the game that if there was a team ready to play tonight, they were ready to play because we basically burst their bubble last year," second-year Capital Coach Riley Gibson said. "They were rated No. 1 and we ended their season real quick in the sectionals.
"They came out ready to play tonight. Hats off to them, they played a good game. When you see good soccer you've got to give them credit."
First-year GW Coach Derek Ragle wasn't around for last season's stunner, but he knew that the Patriots' returning players had this match circled on the team's schedule.
"We talked about it at practice the other day," Ragle said. "Their keeper (Michelle Newhouse) had an excellent game last year and our girls were a little nervous. I just told them to come out and play with confidence and everything else would take care of itself."
The Patriots started the match quickly when junior Taylor Ellis netted the first goal off an assist from senior Stephanie Kelly less than 8 minutes in.
GW built a 2-0 lead with 12:48 remaining in the half when Kelly assisted her second goal, this one by senior Charlie Lucente.
"We really wanted it," Lucente said. "We weren't about to lose to them again after last year. They're a good team so we knew we had to be ready.
"Last year when they beat us everybody was shocked and there were a lot of emotions. Today we just wanted to come out and show that we could beat them."
Gibson wasn't happy with the Cougars' effort in the first half.
"In the first half we didn't come out hustling," Gibson said. "They won 50-50 balls and on a percentage they probably won 80-90 percent of them. Give them credit. They played hard and in the first half they jumped out on us 2-0.
"Sometimes we get down a goal or two and it's hard on us. We're limited on bodies and it's always hard to play a team that has more players that play this game year round."
George Washington outshot the Cougars 19-5 on the evening and built a 3-0 lead with 18:54 to play when senior Andrea Breeden netted a goal with an assist from freshman Hannah Ellis.
Capital finally got on the board with 17:43 left when senior Lauren Johnson slipped a shot past Patriots keeper Olivia Miller.
Miller finished with a pair of saves, while Newhouse stopped six shots.
The win improved GW's record to 3-1-1 in matches in which they've surrendered just one goal. Miller also has four shutouts this season.
"We played well defensively," Ragle said. "It just seems like we outshoot everyone and then we give up one chance and it ends up a goal. Whenever we screw up, we really screw up, but for the most part we played really sound defense.
With a pair of new starters on defense in senior Maddi Wymer and junior Rachel Mears, Ragle has been pleasantly surprised by his team's defensive play through 10 matches.
"I've been very surprised," Ragle said. "They work well as a unit and they communicate. They have some breakdowns every now and then ... they're human, but for the most part we've been pretty good back there and I've been proud of them.
"We're playing pretty good right now. We're 8-1-1, of course I'd like to be 10-0, but you can't have everything you want. As long as we keep improving we'll go right into sectionals and regionals and hopefully be down in Beckley again at the end of year."